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Xinmin Weekly: Health Poverty Alleviation Unlocks the Chain Between Poverty and Diseases (Aug. 14, 2017)

Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet, Xinjiang, speaking of these places, the things appear in a lot of people’s mind are magical natural landscapes, beautiful holiday memories, strong ethnic customs. However, in Shanghai’s medical system, these places are recipients of paired medical aid familiar to doctors. In these places, there are Shanghai doctors’ patients, students and old friends. For years, Shanghai’s medical and health system has brought excellent personnel, advanced technology and professional experience to these regions, so that patients in backward regions can see big experts on their doorsteps, and young doctors in primary hospitals can get the opportunity to learn from senior experts at close range. Targeted health poverty alleviation has greatly improved the service capacity of medical institutions in backward regions.


In 2016, 28 tertiary hospitals in Shanghai and 28 county-level hospitals in poverty-stricken counties in Yunnan signed cooperation agreements, announcing the start of a new round of five-year cooperation and exchange on healthcare.


Compared with the previous two rounds of “paired aid”, more attention is paid to the depth of the connotation in the new round. In the past year, following the idea of “sending a team, leading a hospital, serving the local people, training the personnel”, Shanghai’s 28 medical teams to aid Yunnan focused on improving the paired hospitals’ ability of diagnosing and treating common diseases, frequently-occurring diseases and some critical diseases, started with basic theories, basic knowledge, basic skills, the 3-level ward round system, operating room regulations, radiology department’s work standards, lab crisis value reporting system and so on, stressed “teaching, helping, leading”, and gave local doctors ample hands-on opportunities.


According to statistics, since 2010, Shanghai has sent 12 medical teams of 1,170 people to Yunnan, who have received 381,200 emergency outpatients, performed 39,900 operations, established 400 characteristic specialized clinics and 2,734 new service items. 17 county-level hospitals aided by Shanghai have passed the appraisal for secondary hospitals in Yunnan province.


Pushed by Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning, during the 12th 5-Year Plan Period, in Shanghai’s medical aid to Tibet, about 3,600 people were trained and instructed; the dispatched medical teams performed about 5,000 operations in local places; 24 municipal/district programs of medical aid to Tibet were carried out, adding up to 169,800,000 Yuan; apart from the People’s Hospital of Rikaze, Center for Disease Control, county hospitals and health centers in towns, people's livelihood programs were carried out, such as the Physical Examination for Farmers and Herdsmen, Treatment of Children with Congenital Heart Diseases, “Love of Galsang Flowers” Aid to Children with Congenital Hip Dislocation, which served about 60,000 people.


Shanghai's health poverty alleviation left the personnel, systems and technologies in backward regions. Such medical wealth that cannot be taken away will continue to serve the local poverty alleviation.


Travelling 1,000 Miles to Bridge the Gap in Medical Quality


Shanghai and Zunyi are two cities with the red gene. To fully implement the central government's decision to carry out poverty alleviation cooperation and paired aid between the eastern and western regions, in 2013, the central government decided to pair Shanghai with Zunyi in paired aid.


In the field of healthcare, 8 key hospitals in Shanghai are paired with 8 municipal/county-level hospitals in Zunyi. They have organized expert teams to carry out academic lectures, discipline construction and free consultations in Zunyi for many times.


In April this year, at the Symposium on Shanghai-Zunyi Paired Medical Aid, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning and Zunyi Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning proposed to actively build the brand of “Shanghai-Zunyi Standardization Training”, launch the full-coverage paired medical aid to Zunyi, to help Zunyi improve the level of medical service and the ability of treatment.


Shanghai General Hospital has four years of experience in accurately helping to improve the comprehensive level of Zunyi's local medical institutions.


Shanghai General Hospital’s Vice President Zhong Liwei, as a medical aid management cadre sent by Shanghai medical system in 2014, served as Vice President of the Third People's Hospital of Zunyi. He was in the first batch of medical management cadres sent by Shanghai to Zunyi. Zhong Liwei brought his rich management experience to the hospital. When his 3-year term of office ended, the hospital got the “pace of Shanghai”. Both its efficiency and quality of service changed a lot. Taking the opportunity brought by the paired medical aid, Zunyi Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the First People’s Hospital of Zunyi and the Fifth People’s Hospital of Zunyi joined Shanghai General Hospital’s medical group. Relying on the medical group’s platform, these hospitals have gained convenience and channels in personnel training, research exchanges, clinical teaching and hospital management.


At the end of 2016, a team of medical experts led by Shanghai General Hospital’s President Wang Xingpeng and the Municipal Government of Zunyi held a signing ceremony to start the aid project to establish 5 clinical centers in Zunyi, namely the Clinical Center for Heart Disease, Clinical Center for Ophthalmology, Clinical Center for Geriatrics, Clinical Center for Neurology, Clinical Center for Gastroenterology.


In June this year, Shanghai General Hospital organized 30 clinical experts from the Ophthalmology Department, Gastroenterology Department, Cardiac Surgery Department, Neurology Department, Geriatrics Department and staffs from relevant administrative and functional departments, to Zunyi to carry out a large-scale medical aid tour and start the aid project to establish 5 clinical centers in Zunyi.


In Zunyi, Shanghai General Hospital’s medical expert team led by secretary Feng Yun went to Meitan County, Fenggang County and Longkeng Town to carry out large-scale medical consultations, educational ward rounds, service lectures, etc. Some medical experts visited poor patients at home and gave advice to patients who fell into poverty because of illness.


Associate Chief of Neurology Guo Chunni visited a patient of Parkinson’s disease. The patient, who lives in Longkeng Town, Zunyi City, lost his ability to work because of the illness. Guo Chunni inquired carefully about his medical history and asked him what kind of medicine he was taking, how many times a day, before or after meals. Seeing that the patient's tremor was severe, Dr. Guo told him to take one and a half tablets each time instead of taking one tablet each time and shorten the intervals between two doses. “Shorter intervals can help keeping your tremor under control.” Ms. Guo explained patiently. A doctor from the local health center stood behind Ms. Guo. Ms. Guo explained the standards of taking medication for treating Parkinson’s disease. This grass-roots doctor nodded repeatedly and benefited a lot.


After the medical tour, 5 doctors from Shanghai General Hospital didn’t return to Shanghai but stayed in Zunyi. Sun Tao from the Ophthalmology Department, Yang Dicheng from the Cardiac Surgery Department, Wu Yiying from the Geriatrics Department, Guo Chunni from the Neurology Department and Cai Xiaobo from the Gastroenterology Department will stay in Zunyi for half a year to help establishing 5 clinical centers in the local place.


According to Shanghai General Hospital’s Vice President Xia Shujie, the hospital’s accurate aid to Zunyi aims to bring Zunyi's medical quality into line with Shanghai, which is the social responsibility of Shanghai's large public hospitals.


President Xi Jinping once stressed at the National Health Conference: “without the people's health, there is no all-round well-being. We should regard people's health as a priority, put it in a strategic position in development and lay a solid foundation for the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Health poverty alleviation is changing the medical service capabilities of backward regions, spreading a safety net for poverty alleviation.


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